Wellness series Part 1
The interest in wellness is infiltrating all industries now, including design. The move towards green and more sustainable ways of living is at the heart of Helicon Works’ Ecological Design Practice. As our work with Dwelling has evolved, we’ve expanded our collaborative to include Joy Andrews, M.Ac, L.Ac in our work with clients. (Stay tuned for upcoming posts about a recent client consultation with Joy and Bill.)
As a means of introduction to Helicon Works and our Wellness work, Joy offers her perspective as an acupuncturist and feng shui consultant, using a wide range of tools including astrological charts and insight into a client’s inner life, reflected in their work and home.
Read Joy Andrews’ article & watch the video
Over the past few years, the rise of stress has taken its toll on Americans’ health and productivity – to the point where the healthcare industry and Corporate America have taken measures to reduce stressors in places like hospitals, clinics, and offices. Here are a few examples:
- I’ve trained with a hospital that offers alternative medicine treatments to pre and post op patients and the results show that people return to the hospital less often with this wellness intervention.
- I’ve observed an outpatient center that redesigned their clinic to incorporate natural and calming elements into their space, and the results are that people heal faster when they’re comfortable.
- I’ve done workplace wellness consulting for local as well as global brands and one primary shared obstacle they have is having employees who are so stressed out they’re getting sick, having a hard time working with teams, or choosing to quit. Addressing their sense of wellbeing while at work results in higher productivity, higher satisfaction, fewer work-related errors, and higher retention.
In my own wellness center, I’ve watched the popularity of acupuncture, massage, nutrition consults, feng shui, and yoga grow exponentially in the past few years. People are recognizing the need to manage their stress, especially when left with chronic pain or constant low-grade anxiety and depression.
“[Designing for wellness] isn’t something that’s “cool” or “good for PR”. It’s a measurable aspect of design that can help a building’s inhabitants operate at their peak of effectiveness, maintaining physical and mental well-being, actually helping them to lead healthier, and therefore longer lives. It is the ultimate investment in people, in an architectural sense.” Little Diversified Architectural Consulting
However, it’s time we bring the conversation of wellness home. It’s time to examine how we are feeding our wellness at home.
My work is in the healing of bodies and spaces.
As an acupuncturist and feng shui consultant, I see how the two are intricately intertwined: our sense of wellbeing is either mirrored by, supported by, or deterred by our space.
As a workplace wellness consultant, I see people carry their stresses into work and home from work every day, dragging their productivity down and splitting their attention.
As a co-owner of a wellness center, I see design choices influence someone’s sense of ease or discomfort. Wellness is not something to be reserved for a check up at a doctor’s office; the foundation of our wellness is very personal – it starts at home base – my role is to bridge how ‘at home’ you feel in your skin – your dwelling space.
Here’s an example of how I see a direct relationship between our home and our wellness: as an acupuncturist, my work is hindered the minute my patients walk out the door because they…
- Get into a car that has a seat that strains their back and a gas pedal that’s too far away
- Go home to finish up their telework tasks at a kitchen table/dining room chair/couch/bed that cuts off optimal circulation when they’re typing and sitting for hours
- Go to sleep on a mattress that is ill suited for their body type, only to wake up several times per night and then in the morning, feel groggy and stiff
- Have air circulation that’s hampered by mold spores that then clogged up their sinuses upon waking
- Choose to grab breakfast on the go because of their grogginess…and/or their fridge/stove/cupboards are overwhelming
- Come home again and sit on a couch that collapses their diaphragm into their sacrum and they feel they can’t relax because they feel wired but have chest tightness so they think it’s an increase in their anxiety or depression
- Then have to make several doctors’ visits to address their pain and uneasy-ness… when, if their body and soul were at ease, they would feel much more able to ride the waves life serves them.
Here’s a story of how space and wellbeing are interconnected: A client came to me for acupuncture for knee pain. It was hindering her ability to work and to keep up her social life – she was shrinking into herself from discomfort as well as fear and embarrassment.
After a few treatments with little progress, I asked her to revisit when the pain started. She said, “Two years ago, I started a renovation on my home. My intention was to age into place, so I expanded my bedroom area. The buildout was very very stressful. The contractor and construction team doubted me, questioned me, and hassled me throughout; they didn’t believe that I knew what I wanted or that I could pay for it. That’s when my knee started bothering me.”
I said, “It may be beneficial to do a feng shui consultation of your home to see if there is something that changed about the energy flow of your home after the renovation – this might be affecting your ability to heal your knee.”
Sure enough, upon arrival at the home, I assessed that the bedroom had been bumped out into an area of negative energy flow that was cutting right through her bed. And that area of the house corresponded to the same meridians of Qi that I had been treating on her knee. After implementing some recommendations, she reported that she now sleeps better than ever. Now her body could begin to restore itself; she had the confidence to take a new job and could continue her vibrant social life.
The future of wellness is interconnecting all the parts of people’s lives: equipping people with spaces, tools, vehicles, products, practices, and recommendations that help them thread their sense of wellbeing throughout their everyday life – from home to work to social connections and back again.
Share with Friends
MORE TO READ
SIGN UP TO THE HELICON WORKS NEWSLETTER
A quarterly newsletter with our latest blog posts and events.